On August 16, 2022, the District Court in Gunnison County granted Colorado Poverty Law Project’s (“CPLP”) preliminary injunction request, preventing defendant Ski Town Village Mobile Home Park from increasing rent, imposing late fees, or taking other retaliatory action against the homeowners of the park. The ruling comes as a result of the resident association, Organización De Nuevas Esperanzas (“ONE”), filing a lawsuit in June seeking to prevent a 70% rent increase against residents of the Park. The day after the park exchanged hands earlier this year, the new owners notified residents that rent was increasing by $300 for this low-income and predominantly Hispanic community.
The lawsuit alleged that the rent increase was in retaliation for homeowners complaining about dangerous park conditions and other deferred maintenance. In its ruling, the Court acknowledged the affordable housing shortage and ruled that ONE was successful in demonstrating a reasonable probability that the noticed rent increase was done for retaliatory purposes.
This is a significant victory for mobile home residents. Rarely—if ever—has a court in Colorado enjoined a landlord from raising rents. “CPLP is proud to serve as an advocate for mobile home residents throughout the state,” says Shannon MacKenzie, executive director of CPLP. “We are hopeful that this ruling serves as a warning to park owners everywhere that they cannot retaliate against tenants for raising safety conditions and other maintenance issues.”
With a preliminary injunction in place, the case will proceed to trial, which likely will occur sometime in 2023.
Rising rents remain a significant challenge for mobile homeowners that threatens to extinguish this source of affordable housing. To address this issue, the Colorado General Assembly attempted to pass legislation in 2022 that would have limited rent increases, but that measure was withdrawn due to the threat of a veto by Governor Polis. Without a policy in place, ONE utilized existing law to protect themselves from retaliatory rental increases.
Colorado Poverty Law Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to prevent homelessness through legal representation, education, and advocacy. This lawsuit was brought in partnership with William P. Edwards, P.C..